BEND, OR -- Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a drought emergency for Lake County, Thursday. The declaration allows state agencies to work with local governments to address drought related issues. Drought emergencies have also been declared in Klamath, Grant and Harney counties, so far this year.
With continued dry weather in the High Desert, Deschutes Basin Water Master Jeremy Giffin tells KBND News, "Local streams and rivers will likely be running below average due to the low natural flow, due to the reduced precipitation and snowpack, reservoirs will likely drain more rapidly than they would normally, we're already starting to see that in wickiup reservoir, which is dropping an average of 10,000 acre feet a week, which is a very fast drop in that reservoir. So, we could end up at the end of the irrigation season with very low reservoir levels throughout Central Oregon.says local streams will be low this summer, as well."
Central Oregon reservoirs are filled to between 62% and 93% of capacity, but Giffin doesn't expect they'll stay that way, "We were able to fill most of the reservoirs within the Deschutes basin, this last winter, and so we'll have good storage for the irrigation districts, but for natural flow of area lakes and streams and rivers, will be below average for the rest of the summer."
The outlook is quite a different from the upper Pacific Northwest, which is wet, with deep mountain snowpack. Most of Washington and northern Idaho are seeing mountain snowpacks well above 100% of normal, with strong river and stream flows. Giffin says, "Oregon, with the exception of the extreme northeastern Oregon, is below average in both snowpack and precipitation for the water year. The whole state is well below average snowpack for the year." Click HERE
for the latest numbers.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures over the past two weeks have trended warmer than normal in Oregon and they predict above normal temperatures for the next two weeks, with lower than average rainfall.